‘The Game’ returns: Rivals collide at Hampden-Sydney College

Published 7:42 pm Thursday, November 10, 2022

‘The Game’ has been going on for more than 100 years. Considered one of the oldest rivalries in college football, Randolph-Macon College will visit Prince Edward County this weekend, as the Yellow Jackets take on Hampden-Sydney College (H-SC).

This year, it’s a battle of two teams on the rise. The host Tigers are 5-4 overall, 4-2 (T-3rd) in the ODAC. Meanwhile, the visiting Yellow Jackets are unbeaten at 9-0 overall, 6-0 (1st) in the ODAC. It’s the 127th edition of ‘The Game’ as well as Senior Day for Hampden-Sydney. This is a game still considered the Oldest Small School Rivalry in the South.

It’s also a chance to bounce back for the Tigers. Hampden-Sydney is coming off a 23-7 loss on the road at Shenandoah University Nov. 5. R-MC enjoyed a 52-10 home win past Ferrum College on Nov. 5 in Ashland, the ninth consecutive win by the Yellow Jackets this season. It’s also Senior Day for H-SC and 14 outstanding young men will be recognized during a special pregame ceremony.

Who leads in ‘The Game’ all-time?

H-SC leads the all-time series against R-MC, 60-55-11. The Yellow Jackets, however, have won eight-straight and 10 of the last 11 games played between the two storied programs, including a 37-14 home win past the Tigers last Nov. 13, 2021 in Ashland.

H-SC is 10-12 against R-MC under 23rd-year head coach Marty Favret, who won nine of the first 11 games he coached in the rivalry — including seven-straight wins from 2001-07. The Tigers’ last win in the series was in 2013, a 28-26 road win in Ashland, while H-SC’s last home win in the series was in 2010, a 31-28 victory at Everett Stadium.

The archrivals first met on the gridiron in 1893, as R-MC won that first meeting, 12-6, in the Tigers’ second year as a program. H-SC, however, returned the favor in 1896 with a 24-0 shutout victory.

The longest win-streak in the series is eight, accomplished by each team once: first by H-SC from 1917-23, while playing twice during both 1917 and 1919, and currently by R-MC since 2014.

Scouting The Tigers

H-SC has the fifth-ranked passing offense in NCAA Division III (325.9), and is led offensively by fifth-year quarterback and second-year team captain Tanner Bernard. Bernard has passed for 2,283 yards (184-279-3) and 20 touchdowns in seven games, adding three touchdowns on the ground, as well. Bernard did not play vs. Greensboro (9/17) or Shenandoah (11/5), and was out for the second half vs. Guilford (10/29), all due to injury. Junior quarterback Andrew Puccinelli has passed for 646 yards (66-94-2) and six touchdowns in three games, adding one touchdown on the ground.

The running game features junior running back Melik Frost, who has rushed for 852 yards on 188 attempts (4.5) and 11 touchdowns, adding 236 yards receiving on 25 catches and one touchdown.

Sophomore wide receiver Austin Fernandez has led the receiving unit with 769 yards receiving on 59 receptions and six touchdowns. Freshman wide receiver Mason Cunningham adds 618 yards receiving on 53 receptions and six touchdowns, while senior tight end David Byler has 525 yards receiving on 47 catches and six touchdowns, and junior wide receiver Jamahdia Whitby has 303 yards receiving on 26 catches and six touchdowns.

Junior safety Will Pickren leads the Tigers on defense with 108 total tackles, including five tackles for loss, two interceptions, one forced fumble, three pass breakups, one quarterback hurry and one blocked PAT kick. Junior safety James-Ryan Salvi has 80 total tackles, including 0.5 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery and seven pass breakups. Also, junior linebackers Dorian Green and Jaylin Jones add 58 and 54 total tackles, respectively, including 7.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, two interceptions, two pass breakups and three quarterback hurries by Green, and 4.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry by Jones.

Scouting The Yellow Jackets

R-MC has the 10th-ranked rushing offense in Division III (264.3), and is expected to be led offensively by junior quarterback Drew Campanale, senior quarterback Andrew Ihle, senior running back Nick Hale, junior running back Kwesi Clarke, along with senior wide receiver David Wallis.

Campanale has passed for 1,812 yards (122-152-2) and 19 touchdowns, adding four touchdowns on the ground, as well, while Ihle has passed for 145 yards (10-15-0) and one touchdown, adding 358 yards rushing on 63 attempts (5.7) and 12 touchdowns on the ground. Hale has rushed for 572 yards on 98 attempts (5.8) and eight touchdowns, while Clarke has rushed for 736 yards on 108 attempts (6.8) and six touchdowns. Wallis has 880 yards receiving on 34 receptions and 10 touchdowns.

Senior safety Cade Jones has led the Yellow Jackets on defense with 42 total tackles, including one tackle for loss, two interceptions and five pass breakups. Junior linebacker Jackson Deaver has 35 total tackles, including six tackles for loss, three sacks and one pass breakup.

When and what time is ‘The Game’?

‘The Game’ will take place this Saturday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. on Fulton Field at Lewis C. Everett Stadium.

The regular season finale can be heard locally on WVHL, Kickin’ Country 92.9 FM and will also be available worldwide on the Internet at wvhl.net or via the TuneIn Radio App, while available to watch as well on the Tiger Sports Network live video stream at hscathletics.com, pregame airing at 12:30 p.m.